1067 Educational Sciences
1025 West Johnson Street
Madison, WI 53706-1706
My research focuses on inductive inference and causal reasoning: How do we predict the future and learn from experience? One line of research explores how children acquire the set of commonsense beliefs that characterize adult thinking. I am particularly interested in children’s developing appreciation of physical and intentional causality.
My current research explores the role of norms in social cognition. How does children’s understanding of rules and obligations develop, and what role does such understanding play in their predictions and explanations of people’s behavior?
A second line of research addresses more general processes of categorization and inference. We explore how people use evidence to draw conclusions, and how information about sampling affects these conclusions. Ongoing studies focus on conditional probability judgments. These judgments are central to categorization and inference, and are especially interesting in stereotypes and social judgments. For example, that most basketball players are tall does not imply that most tall people are basketball players.
The ability to generalize past experience to new situations, to make inductive inferences, is central to what we think of as learning. We want children not just to be able to solve familiar problems, but also to know how to apply their knowledge in new circumstances. I hope that studying the process of generalization will tell us more about how children learn.
Ph D, Developmental Psychology
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI
BA, Psychology, Magna cum laude